UPDATE 1-Axis-Shield FY pretax profit up, sees maiden div in ’10

* Buys back Afinion marketing rights from Abbott

* FY underlying pretax profit up 80 pct at 8.1 mln stg

* FY revenue up 13.4 pct at 96.7 mln stg

* Appoints chairman designate

* Says confident about future
(Adds details)

March 16 (BestGrowthStock) – British medical testing company
Axis-Shield Plc (ASD.L: ) posted an 80 percent increase in
full-year underlying pretax profit, and said it expects to
propose a maiden dividend for the current year.

The UK-Norwegian company, which provides equipment for
testing in doctors’ surgeries, also said it agreed to
repurchase full U.S. marketing rights for its Afinion devices
from Abbott Diagnostics, the UK unit of Abbott Laboratories Inc
(ABT.N: ).

Axis-Shield said it would sell its Afinion devices, which
are specially designed to be used rapidly at the point of care
rather than as part of a drawn-out laboratory process, directly
and through an exclusive partnership with PSS World Medical
Inc’s (PSSI.O: ) unit.

The company said its strategy to place 3,500 Afinion
devices annually would result in incremental costs of about 2
million pounds in 2010, and would add to its earnings from
2011.

Axis-Shield named John Brown as chairman designate
succeeding Nigel Keen, who will step down as chairman on May
13. Brown is currently the chairman at specialty
pharmaceuticals company BTG Plc (BGC.L: ).

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, the company posted
underlying pretax profit of 8.1 million pounds ($12.2 million),
compared with 4.5 million pounds a year ago.

Revenue rose 13.4 percent to 96.7 million pounds.

Shares of the company were up 0.5 percent at 407 pence at
0808 GMT on the London Stock Exchange.

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($1=.6643 Pound)
(Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Anne
Pallivathuckal)

UPDATE 1-Axis-Shield FY pretax profit up, sees maiden div in ’10